The Death of Vanguard Centric Decks

Hey look I’m not dead…

So let’s get back in with something that’s been troubling me about the direction of the game.

scyrew.png

So it’s not a secret I’m a big fan of G-guards, the game needed a new defensive mechanic and G-guards were the most logical option.

So what’s the issue?

As with many things in vanguard the issue comes down to power creep. Instead of developing laterally (interesting effects/set-up skills) they developed upwards (Bigger shields) what does this mean? Let me explain.

In case you hadn’t noticed most of the top decks currently have one thing in common; rearguard based skills. This isn’t a coincidence. G-guards are getting larger and larger shield power which doesn’t really seem like an issue until we look at the effect that it has on the metagame.

G-CHB01-014EN-RR.png
A little conditional but still a 30k shield

For this I’m going to use Kagero as an example since it works well to illustrate the point I want to make. Kagero has one or two powerful rearguards but in general the deck could be described as “vanguard centric” meaning its main win-cons are based on vanguard attacks. Vanguard focused decks tend have few if any multiattack skills and the majority of rearguards for these decks are supportive i.e retiring rearguards, locking units or giving the vanguard power. This means that outside of a restanding vanguard you can expect 3 attacks from these decks. Chances are that the rearguards won’t ask for more that 10-15k without triggers and the vanguard can be PGed if you have one. So that boils down to requiring around 4-6 cards from hand on average depending on deck. G-guards change this up a little.

A G-guard blocks for a minimum of 15k meaning that you can easily block the larger rearguard attacks or in the case of units with higher shield make guarding the vanguard much easier.

Going back to Kagero one of the decks finishers is Vague which has the handy skill of stopping perfect guards from being used. Now this would have once upon a time been a very powerful skill and even now it’s hard to deny that guard restriction skills are still effective. But without effective powergain a skill many vanguard based clans lack G-guards are able to shoulder most of the burden of this attack.

This means that the main threat of the guard restrict is effectively nullified and your opponent can proceed to guard regularly with most of the threat gone.

These examples are fairly rudimentary and are assuming your opponent is in a good position to guard normally but you get the point.

vague

Now compare that to what one of the “top” decks can do.

  • Nightrose demands the same guard if not more from its multiattacks and high-power columns.
  • Gears demand a lot of smaller shields (Via multiattack) that the opponent often won’t have meaning they will have to overguard the attacks.
  • Sanc same deal as nightrose, high power multiattacks

G-gaurds can only block one unit at a time (usually) which means spreading out the required shield over several attacks is much better than having it all in one large and powerful attack.

llew

What this boils down to is pretty simple when you think about it

More attacks = more wins

Feel free to call me captain obvious but somehow not a lot of people notice this. People often point to cards with a lot of raw power as being card to watch out for but in reality they’re mostly just one piece of the puzzle.

Imagine what Sanc guard would be like if it couldn’t effectively multiattack; 9k to the front row is still a powerful skill and will make guarding difficult but we actually have decks that can do this (Vanquisher often has even more power than that) and we don’t see them doing a whole lot. 3 attacks a turn is not enough anymore hell maybe even restanders aren’t enough anymore. Guarding is easier than ever, card draw is more powerful, triple drive and of course G-guards mean that vanguards are not where the power lies.

Vanguards are now effectively more important as support units than anything else.

So what’s the solution?

Develop laterally – Going back to my point earlier, stop making units that gain more and more shield (Although we may already be past the point of no return) and develop cards that support the clans gameplan. Cards like Rainbreath dragon are a good example or even Denial griffin. Use G-guards as a set-up or response method rather than just a big number for blocking.

Just power creep some more – Fight fire with fire, make vanguards have stupidly powerful abilities that even 30k shields will struggle against.

Create counterplay – offer a way for decks that need their vanguard for pressure a way to work around G-guards so that their skills are still meaningful.

Give everyclan rearguard power – Exactly what is says on the tin, give every clan from megacolony to D-police the ability to multiattack.

Well obviously a lot of this article is based on the prediction that bushi continues to make G-guards with larger shields and I could end up looking like an idiot but regardless we are already seeing vanguard based decks fall off with almost every recent powerful deck being based on rearguard power. If Bushi isn’t careful many clans will just end up falling behind and I can’t see many players liking that.

or y’know we could all just play buddyfight instead

thanks for reading

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